Freedom Rider: Silence on Cynthia McKinney

cynthia mckinneyby BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
The shallowness of what passes for Black leadership reveals itself most dramatically at times of outrage and death. “While Cynthia McKinney languished in an Israeli jail, black leaders mobilized to say and do absolutely nothing,” preferring to make themselves part of the Michael Jackson story. “The only national action requested by” Rev. Al Sharpton, “the president of the National Action Network, was a demand for a Michael Jackson postage stamp and a national day of mourning. 
 
Freedom Rider: Silence on Cynthia McKinney
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
“Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton were busy advising Michael Jackson’s family, too busy apparently to deal with any other issues.“
What country illegally kidnapped and then imprisoned a former member of Congress and a Nobel peace prize laureate? Was it Iran, Myanmar, or perhaps Sudan? The correct answer is “none of the above.” The rogue nation in question is Israel, the beneficiary of largesse forced from the pockets of millions of American citizens.
Former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, peace prize winner Mairead Maguire, and nineteen others were captured by Israel while on a humanitarian mission to bring food, medicine, and building supplies to Gaza. Their vessel, the Human Spirit, was intercepted in international waters and its passengers were taken to Israel and imprisoned for four days.
Israel is justifiably given the rogue title because an even bigger rogue, the United States, is its only benefactor, to the tune of $7million per day. Israel has the sweetest deal in international relations. In return for being the recipient of more American foreign aid than the rest of the countries on earth combined, Israel gets to do as it pleases, including imprison people who would be treated as dignitaries anywhere else in the world.
Vice President Joe Biden explained it all to us. For once he should be thanked for his famous inability to keep his mouth shut. In a televised interview he said Israel can do anything it wants, including declare wars and kill people. The subject of discussion was Iran but the vice president said the same applies to any action Israel may want to take at any time against any one.
“Israel gets to do as it pleases, including imprison people who would be treated as dignitaries anywhere else in the world.”
"Look, Israel can determine for itself — it's a sovereign nation — what's in their interest and what they decide to do relative to Iran and anyone else."
“Look, we cannot dictate to another sovereign nation what they can and cannot do.” (Hopefully that last statement applies to nations other than Israel.)
While Cynthia McKinney languished in an Israeli jail, black leaders mobilized to say and do absolutely nothing. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton were busy advising Michael Jackson’s family, too busy apparently to deal with any other issues. Perhaps that explains their silence on the subject of McKinney and Maguire. McKinney’s former colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus must have also been similarly occupied. They too went out of their way to say and do nothing about the illegal and immoral treatment of someone they should have defended very publicly.
The silence from the corporate media is, sadly, not at all surprising. The complete surrender of black American leadership is also sad and also not surprising, but is nonetheless disgraceful, and should not pass without comment. Cynthia McKinney was one of the first victims of the corporate takeover of the Congressional Black Caucus. She was targeted for defeat in 2002 by Zionists and other powerful forces determined to get rid of one of the few truly progressive members of congress.
“Cynthia McKinney was one of the first victims of the corporate takeover of the Congressional Black Caucus.”
The black caucus could have responded in any number of ways to prevent falling prey to McKinney’s fate. They might have insured electoral success by mobilizing their supporters, resurrecting movement politics and exposing the forces who would seek to undermine popular will. Instead they chose to capitulate, to go along to get along. They decided not to put up a fight for themselves or for their constituents, who were left without the representation they thought they were getting when they made their choices on Election Day.
As always, the result of capitulation is more capitulation, and it now spreads beyond the hallowed halls of Congress. The only national action requested by the president of the National Action Network, was a demand for a Michael Jackson postage stamp and a national day of mourning. 
It is easy and safe to fight for what is palatable to the powers that be. Supporters of Cynthia McKinney, Mairead Maguire, and other defenders of human rights should never be dissuaded or discouraged from doing what is hard. If their struggle results only in silence, then it will have been in vain, and that would be the ultimate disgrace for the Gaza 21.
Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgandaReport.Com.